Gender equality absent in Moldovan politics

As legislative elections approach, politicians are not addressing the fact that women in Moldova face increasing discrimination, a large wage gap and a segregated job market.

Ana Maria Luca
Ana Maria Luca NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Gender equality absent in Moldovan politics - NewsMavens
World Bank Photo Collection/Flikr

Why this story matters:

Gender equality has hardly been one of the priorities for the government of the former Soviet Republic of Moldova.

Despite a large portion of the electorate having voted for a woman with a pro-European and anti-corruption agenda in the presidential elections of 2016, Moldovan society remains conservative. Meanwhile, there are no civil society structures powerful enough to pressure politicians into taking action.

Women in Moldova face dramatic discrimination, an increasing wage gap and an unfair job market.

Moldova is, by far, Europe’s poorest country and its residents struggle with endemic corruption -- a billion dollars in international aid vanished in 2014. Also, the country's politics are plagued by the long-standing polarization between the pro-Russian and pro-European political camps. Both topics monopolize the public agenda, leaving little room for women's issues.

Each year, hundreds of Moldovan women and girls as young as 13 are being trafficked to Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and other nations, mainly to work as sex slaves, according to international watchdogs. Even if the public disccourse remains focused on corruption and poverty, politicians should acknowledge that women are disproportionately affected by these issues. 

Details from the story:

  • A recent study released by the Moldova-based Partnership for Development Center shows that the gender pay gap in Moldova is increasing.
  • The study revealed that from 2012 to 2016, discrepancies increased from 12.9 per cent to 14.5 per cent. In 2016, the average Moldovan woman lost on average 11,417 Moldovan lei [around 570 euros] due to this bias.
  • Over 80% of Moldovan women work in social areas such as education, health, social welfare, where salaries are lower.
  • Women are Moldova's second most discriminated category, after people with disabilities, according to the country's Council for Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality in Moldova
  • Last year, the Council investigated a case of discrimination at the national air transport company of Moldova: women flight attendants were hired with contracts for one year, while men got contracts for five years. If a woman employee became pregnant, the company was therefore not obliged to cover the costs of a maternity leave.
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